Later today I’ll be recording a podcast with Sarah Ehekircher. Sarah and I have been doing a lot of three person pods where we delve into some of the environment that has created the conditions for abuse in swimming teams.
We started, however, doing podcasts about her own story. We covered the sexual abuse by her coach, Scott MacFarland, We talked about the various manifestations that abuse took as she moved into adulthold. Finally, we concluded with an examination of when, in 2010, she got the courage to bring her complaint to USA Swimming, and the sham process of a National Board of Review.
The story is not over. In the months since we recorded those podcasts, Sarah has continued to fight to get USA Swimming and Safe Sport to do justice to her situation, to mostly frustrating results. However, she has also made slow but significant progress on a lot of fronts.
Among those is the possibility, floated by Liz Hahn of USA Swimming, of a possible second NBOR. On the podcast, we’’ll talk about how we got here.
We’ll start with the fight to get her transcript from the 2010 NBOR, what she discovered when she actually read it. The actual NBOR is a pretty disturbing read. If you listen to our first podcast, Sarah was not allowed to be there for most of the process.
The vast majority of the hearing appears to have been mostly run by Scott MacFarland’s defense attorney (Ehekircher was not represented at the NBOR).
The story is important way beyond whether Ehekircher herself gets a resolution. There are many more cases where USA Swimming, especially early in the process, missed opportunities to sanction coaches because they were so inexperienced and had such a poor process for doing so. If Ehekircher can get another shot- there should be many more who are afforded a similar opportunity.